The WBC want to order a final eliminator at heavyweight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, but while Whyte says he’s open to the fight, his team aren’t feeling it, and Whyte also doesn’t expect it to happen even if they agree, which is the most realistic stance he could take.
As Whyte himself puts it, there’s just no reason to think Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO) would take a WBC eliminator with Whyte (25-1, 18 KO). Fury just walked away from an ordered rematch with WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder, signing with Top Rank and scheduling a June 15 bout with Tom Schwarz. Fury’s claim is that he’s lineal champion of the division dating back to his 2015 win over Wladimir Klitschko. He seems genuinely uninterested in title belts.
Whyte is currently set to fight Oscar Rivas on July 20, and promoter Eddie Hearn is pushing for the WBC to make that an eliminator.
“We’re pushing hard for a resolution, and we want the Oscar Rivas fight to be for the mandatory position with the WBC and for that interim world title. We’ll see where that goes. We’re all trying to come up with a resolution that’s fair and we haven’t yet, so we’re still pushing. We want the Rivas fight to be for something very significant for the WBC and that’s probably an interim world title fight and to become the mandatory to the winner of Deontay Wilder against Dominic Breazeale.”
The Whyte team has already been confused by how Dominic Breazeale — who won an eliminator in 2017 — got the May 18 order against Wilder while Whyte was ranked No. 1 by the organization and held and had defended their silver belt.
Whyte won that dumb WBC silver title in 2017, beating Robert Helenius, and defended it against Lucas Browne, Joseph Parker, and Dereck Chisora. He also has the WBO international title, which he won against Parker and defended against Chisora. But he was offered an April rematch with Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium and turned it down, too. His focus seems to be entirely on the WBC belt, and the WBC just don’t seem to want to give him the shot.
It’s all just a mess of political bullshit, really, which goes for the entire rest of the upper tier of today’s heavyweight division. There are styles and personalities that could make for a terrific run for boxing’s most glamorous division, but it’s not happening. We got Wilder-Fury in December and really should have gotten Wilder-Fury II and Joshua-Whyte II at the very least this spring. I’m not even asking for the moon via Joshua-Wilder. I should, but I’ve followed boxing long enough to know better.
Instead we’ll be “lucky” to see even one fight between any combination of those four men in 2019.
If Eddie Hearn’s information is correct, and Wilder beats Dominic Breazeale as expected on May 18, then Wilder has a Luis Ortiz rematch lined up after that, and then maybe Adam Kownacki.
Fury has Tom Schwarz in June, wants to fight again in September, but who is even out there available for Top Rank besides Kubrat Pulev? Pulev may not even want to fight Fury because Pulev has an IBF mandatory position for a shot at Joshua, and at any rate, Bob Arum’s stated plans are for a second tune-up type bout to try turning Tyson Fury into some mega-millions pay-per-view star via ESPN exposure. (By the way, Fury-Schwarz is streaming on ESPN+, not airing on ESPN proper.)
Joshua has Andy Ruiz Jr on June 1, then what? Joshua-Whyte II seems the fight for them to make, but Whyte’s turned it down once this year. If the offer is right, I’m sure he’d do it, but what’s the right offer? Is it reasonable? There’s been talk of Joshua against Oleksandr Usyk, but Usyk’s hurt and his move to heavyweight has been delayed.
Whyte-Rivas is a perfectly fine fight in July, but say Whyte wins, then what? It’s clear the WBC are giving him the runaround, and that seems to be all he wants.
It’s entirely possible that the most actually interesting heavyweight fight we see this year is Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman, or the winner of that against Joe Joyce at some point.
There’s a big part of me as a boxing fan that would love to see Breazeale beat Wilder and Ruiz beat Joshua, and we could just put all this crap to bed for at least a little while. There’d still be headaches to get through, but at least they’d be new ones. And I’m not including Tyson Fury somehow losing to Tom Schwarz, because at least Fury is being pretty honest about what he wants to do, he’s not running around every day calling everyone out. He seems more or less content to go fight Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas and go about his business. If anything, he’s really just being dragged into these conversations.